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24 June, 2014 - 14:36 By News Desk

Sphere raises £1.4m for revolutionary MedTech

Sphere Fluidics CEO Dr Frank Craig

Sphere Fluidics in Cambridge UK has secured £1.4 million in a first close of a new investment round to fund a new single cell analysis instrument called Cyto-Mine™.

CEO Dr Frank Craig claimed the device “will be revolutionary for the biopharmaceutical discovery and development market.”

The round will finally complete in early September with more potential funding already in the pipeline.

Sphere has developed what it describes as unique technology for single cell analysis and characterisation and provides proprietary products and novel services for this rapidly-growing market.

Dr Craig said: “This new instrument can accelerate and enable the discovery of diverse antibodies from primary B-cells or hybridomas. It can perform millions of novel single cell or cell-cell co-incubation assays per day and dramatically improve biopharmaceutical discovery.

“Its novel features enable it to identify and retrieve single cells from vast populations of transformed cells to speed biopharmaceutical development.

“It also offers up to 100-fold improvements in monoclonality and improved recovery of single cells compared to conventional techniques.”

Dr Marian Rehak, Sphere’s R & D director, added: “The instrument was designed after comprehensive market research with over 30 international biopharmaceutical organisations.

“It provides a transformational change for this market, offering unique technical features for single cell analysis and benefits including significantly reduced capital, consumable and operational costs.”

Dr Craig said development of the Cyto-Mine™ represented the first step in the company’s strategic change from not only providing biochip and specialist chemical consumable to the single cell analysis community, but also selling integrated, high value systems.

“We have successfully grown the consumables business to have almost 200 international customers, but believe there are even more customers in our new target markets.”

“We are already collaborating in development of the Cyto-Mine™ system with one of the world’s top biopharmaceutical companies. We have decided to extend this type of collaboration, via a Technology Access Program, to enable other major firms to work with us and help shape the final Cyto-Mine™ product.

“This is a highly innovative program and we can already see other instrument spin-offs in areas such as synthetic biology, microbial analysis (e.g. antibiotic-resistance screening and micro-flora profiling) and single cell diagnostics and prognostics.”

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